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Damn fish ladder
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gents---

I'm slowly amassing a collection of "spey hackle." Wonder if I am missing anything and if so, where to get?

Blue eared pheasant is an obvious miss, but I ain't gonna pay $150 for a skin.

ALSO-- Does anyone know if it is possible to get "real" spey cock hackle from Scotland? I've heard that the strain still exists...I'm thinking about how for a long time one could only get Pardo coq de leon through back-alley connections in Spain at midnight under a full moon &-)

Whiting Spey Hackle
soft argus pheasant
swinehoe
schlappen
american bald turkey
super spey (peafowl)
"Spey Hackle" burned goose shoulders, I think

Other ideas???
 

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The rump feathers of the ringneck pheasant make passable hackle on smaller patters.
 

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For big flies, rhea is incredible. Do a search of this site and www.flyfishingforum.com for info and pics of flies tied with this feather. BEP for everything else. Yeah, it is expensive, but the high yield of USABLE feathers from the skin makes it more than worth it, IMHO.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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I noticed you didn't have coche (rooster tail) feathers on your list. These and schlappen are almost identical feathers to those used from the spey cock of old. The description of where the spey cock feathers came from on the bird indicates they would have been either schlappen or coche feathers.

That said, blue-eared pheasant is the best heron substitute. And white-eared pheasant (like the blue-eared except all white) and brown-eared pheasant (like the blue eared except aobut 13rd brown and 2/3rds white) are excellent for dying any color you want and the natural brown of the brown-eared is an excellent brown heron sub.

Whiting's Spey Hackle has come a long way since it was first introduced. It is an excellent spey feather, reasonably priced, and a spey neck or spey saddle ties a fair number of flies. I would not hesitate to use or recommend the use of Whiting Spey Hackle on spey or dee flies.

I don't care for the burned goose shoulder because the feather stem is awfully thick.

And as others have mentioned, rhea is a fine feather for large flies, and ringnecked rump feathers (especially the dyed all white ringneck skins hareline dubbing sells) are very good for smaller flies.
 

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I love the look of BEP but have switched almost totally over to the Whiting capes. There is the obvious advantage in cost but the deciding factor for me is the durability of the Whiting. The BEP seems very brittle and after being fished a time or two, becomes pretty ratty looking.
 

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Damn fish ladder
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks!

Great points, all.

I wonder why the tyers moved from the coche to heron???

Anyone know a legal source of heron???
 

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-ringneck tends to be very brittle as noted- also tends to have a lot of broken short fibers
-golden pheasant can yield some nice hackle- if your dying to claret/black/purple etc with the red feathers and orange/red with the yellowish feathers- I use veniard dyes so other dyes might yield different results
- turkey has some nice dark hackle- black tinged bronze/or greenish
- coche- can be got at craft stores- as chinchilla(bared white/brown) or bronze- though you have to sort through the packs to get what you want

these all produce decent hackle for front third hackling verses full length hackling

all the above assumes your making fishing verses display patterns:)

Will
 

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if you PM me with your address, I'll send ya some Spey Cock hackle. Running out of the brown but have a decent amount of black . Local hadware chain had some tied into small dusting brooms !Fibres 1 1/2 to 2 in and feather 5 to 7 in. long
Cheers
 
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It's not a matter of finding a legal source for heron. Even possessing heron feathers is a felony. That means it is even a criminal act to pick up a heron feather found on the ground in a natural environment. Believe me, about that time the $150.00 for BEP skin won't seem too steep a price at all.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Jr Spey,

That is not exactly true. while it is correct that one cannot legally possess or use heron feathers of the north american heron in the US, unless those feathers came from an aviary, were acquired prior to 1972, or were given to you by a federal or state wildlife agent for personal use (you have to prove these with written documentation to be legal), it is perfectly OK to possess heron and use feathers that are not of US origin, such as those brought in from the UK. Such feathers must be documented as to origin though and must be from a country where it is legal to have such feathers, or they are also not legal.

The bottom line for me has been it is not worth the hassle and since BEP, Whiting Spey Hackle. schlappen, coche, WEP, BrnEP are readily available and legal, why risk the possible federal penalties in the US?
 

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That was a good point.
I have tyed my spey flies from hereon for long time here in europe, but have used now for last 2 years only white eared pheasant or blue eared and I have to say that they rock! :smokin:
The stem on that hackle is very flexible and the actual fibers last better than heron.

Schlappen is ok and some like to use bronze mallard, but the best one is - eared pheasants by far.

Have you gyus tried ostrich drab feathers - I have used those in my new tubes and work really well. :)


Toni
 

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Spey Hackle

Hello, folks. Just gotta comment on this issue. I have used most of the aforementioned Spey hackle feathers excepting the Blue Heron. I do have many of the Heron feathers which I've picked up from the banks of various GL Basin Watersheds...just have never dyed or tied them(sounds like I'd be in deep doo if I did, eh?). Just have to say that the genetically engineered Spey Capes of Dr. Whiting are all anyone could ever desire(seems like), especially when coupled with any of the aforementioned feathers...IMHO. I have never like the Blue-eared Pheasant feathers and several of the others because of those large dia. center quills of the feather shafts that just refuse to be wound (for me anyway) with any cosmetic look to the finished fly. I've even soaked them for a couple hours in warm tap water before tying. These Whiting Spey capes have the most beautiful tiny center quills that love to be wrapped. Plus, as one before me mentioned, they do a good job of holding up to use. I love to swing the Speys and tie them as well. I am very happy with the new Whiting Spey Capes. Best to all, Stiver
 

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You just got to be careful when picking up a Whiting spey cape. There are some really good ones out there and some awful ones. I got a bronze grade dyed hot orange which is totally useless, part from the smaller feathers. On the other hand, my silver grade dyed black is just woooonderful! Even the biggest feathers are good and *full*. Seems to me the thicker the cape the better the quality.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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The difference in the Whiting Spey necks and saddles is one of what year or generation the bird came from. The first two years of production had some rather iffy capes. The third year was much different and both silver and bronze grades had good feathers, the difference between the two grades was in the number of feathers on the cape. The fourth year of production, the capes and saddle were all excellent and uniform. The fourth year is also when the spey hen necks and saddles became available, which are a great choice for speys #4 and smaller.

Unfortunately, most distributors and dealers will probably not care when the bird was produced so I would venture a guess that for about another two years it is entirely possible to get Whiting Spey Hackle that was of the 1st or 2nd generation at the local shop. After this, there should be virtually none of it left on dealer shelves or distributor warehouses.

Also, if your local shop or dealer where you buy your materials is knowledgeble about what tyers of spey and dee fly hackle needs are, there is almost a complete assurance that the Whiting Spey hackle you buy from them will be of the current excellent feathers.
 

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Flytyer,

Your point is well taken but for the most part, I think the quantity of the first couple of years was minimal and sold out quickly. I know my secret source could only keep them in stock for a short time for the first few years. I think it is easier to find them now.

'tip
 

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beau purvis said:
I use Rhea and some incredible Marabou from John Shewy.especially like his black imitation heron belly marabou.Beau
Beau,

Where do you get the Shewey marabou?
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Sinktip,

Very good and accurate points. The first two years there weren't all that many of the necks available, and that has changed. Not only are they of excellent quality, they are far more available today as well.

Secret source hmmm.......
 

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The necks I have seen recently are decent, he is getting closer but lets face it, it takes great patience and vast amounts of time to turn a chicken into a heron :hihi:
 
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